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Quinoa is a food that I wish I knew existed LONG ago. And once I knew about it, I wish I knew how to use it!
It has been around for thousands of years but just recently made its comeback thanks to the rise of vegetarianism, veganism, and overall desire for healthier lifestyles.
If you’re not familiar with Quinoa, let’s talk about what it is.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is a high-protein grain-like food that has been around for the ages. You cook it similarly to rice and it has a slightly nutty flavor. Quinoa is a gluten-free whole protein (meaning contains all 9 amino acids) superfood that is packed with nutrients in a teeny tiny ball.
You see, quinoa is quite versatile and many use it in morning recipes like oatmeal, as a replacement for animal products in things like tacos or chili, or a buddha bowl. It can even be used in dessert recipes! When we started using quinoa we found it to be a helpful ingredient to get more protein into our meals, especially for our kids.
Health benefits and nutrition facts of quinoa
Here I want to share with you the health benefits and nutrition facts of quinoa.
Complete nutrition facts for cooked quinoa
In 1 cup of cooked quinoa you are getting:
- 8.14g of Protein
- 5.18g of Fiber
- 3.55g of Fat
- 39.4g of Carbohydrates
- 222 calories
Vitamins & Minerals (% of DV) in quinoa include:
- Vitamin E at 6%
- Folate at 19%
- Calcium at 3%
- Iron at 15%
- Manganese at 58%
- Potassium at 9%
- Phosphorus at 28%
- Zinc at 13%
- Copper at 18%
When you look at the information above you’re probably thinking “So is quinoa a carbohydrate?” The answer is, yes, technically speaking quinoa is a carbohydrate because it does contain a high amount of carbs. HOWEVER, I feel that this question comes with some negativity. Carbs, in the complex form, are not BAD and are vital for a healthy life, and more healthy individuals are perfectly fine to consume regularly and without many limitations. (This is not medical advice, just my opinion. Please consult your doctor if you have questions about your carb intake)
Quinoa as a carbohydrate is not equal to white pasta or candy. This is simple vs. complex carbs and you can learn more about that here.
How can you use quinoa?
Using quinoa is very similar to using rice. You can use it on its own, mix it with other things (like beans or rice) or even use it in a puffed form.
In our home, quinoa is a staple. It is always in our cupboard for quick meals or to bulk up something super simple like plant-based nachos.
PS: Did you know quinoa comes in a variety of colors? Don’t let that confuse you – they are all equal so get whichever you feel comfortable with or is most readily available.
Are you ready to give quinoa a try? I put together a list of 10 delicious recipes for you to try.
10 Recipes Using Quinoa:
- 5 Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese from Simply Quinoa
- Vegan Quinoa (not) Fried Rice from Jessica in the Kitchen
- Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl from Running on Real Food
- Cowboy Caviar Quinoa Salad from Contentedness Cooking
- Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad (omit honey to be vegan) from Ambitious Kitchen
- No-Bake Fudgy Quinoa Chia Bites from Eating By Elaine
- Quinoa Crust by Green Healthy Cooking
- Breakfast Quinoa Rice Pudding from Darn Good Veggies
- Buffalo Quinoa Cauliflower Meatballs from Jessica in the Kitchen
- Coconut Quinoa Cupcakes from Desserts with Benefits
I hope you read this and feel inspired to try quinoa and even put it into your weekly meal rotation. If you ever need a boost of protein for a meal, add quinoa. If you need something filling but don’t feel like making an elaborate meal, cook up some quinoa with seasonings and enjoy!
What recipes will you try? Is quinoa on your try list for 2020?